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Oklahoma Restaurant Employee Relief Fund

The Cresap Family Foundation (CFF) and the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation in partnership with the Oklahoma Restaurant Association (ORA) have created the Oklahoma Restaurant Employee Relief Fund. 

Almost one in ten working Oklahomans are employed by the restaurant industry, and layoffs have topped 65,000. In an industry with notoriously slim profit margins, restaurants have been hard hit economically since March.
"Our goal since day one of this crisis has been to help in any way possible," said Chandy Rice, CAE, Director of Education for the Oklahoma Restaurant Association.
To date the ORA, has awarded 625 grants to laid-off restaurant workers thanks to generous donations including lead gifts from the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation in Tulsa and the Cresap Family Foundation in Oklahoma City. Their lead donations of $100,000 each launched the fund that awards grants in the amounts of $500 and $1000.
During the application window, there were over 2500 applications submitted for both OKC and Tulsa metro areas.
"Some people have asked if we are going to stop now that restaurants are open. We won’t stop raising money until restaurants can return to their full capacity. These employees will feel the impact of diminished earnings for months to come,” said Rice. "We are exceedingly grateful to the many donors who did not hesitate to help. If individuals or businesses want to continue to give, we are going to be able to pull more people off the applicant list and write them checks!" said Rice.

Funds are dispersed as $500 grants directly to restaurant and beverage workers to spend on their immediate needs whether that is food, rent, gas, medical expenses, etc.  In turn, we are asking you, our community, to donate (below) so that additional funds are raised to support this group of hard working individuals in our OKC metro area community! 

Impact the lives of Oklahoma restaurant employees with your contribution today! All funds raised will support those who serve the dining public on a regular basis. 

“For everyone who is missing their morning coffee, favorite meal or happy hour… I hope you will consider giving to this fund today. Restaurant and service industry workers have always had a special place in my heart. When I was the Anheuser Busch wholesaler, we worked hand-in-hand to give our customers the best entertainment experience.  As our Foundation was considering impactful ways to get much-needed funds into the hands of these professionals, we were especially excited about this relief fund because it will allow others to easily contribute and guarantee funds get into the hands of those who need immediate help,” - John Cresap, the President of the Cresap Family Foundation.
“As the state’s largest private-sector employer, Oklahoma’s foodservice industry employs over 185,000 people or 11% of the total job base. Many restaurant workers who have lost work amid the coronavirus outbreak are now contending with a challenging economic reality. Just as it will take time for restaurants to recover, it will also take time and resources for employees to recover their lost wages. The OKC Restaurant Employee Relief fund will help bridge the gap for these workers during this difficult time,” - Chandy Rice, ORA, Director of Education.

"I just want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the gift. I am so proud to be awarded this gift and I will never forget the kindness of ORA. It came at the right time and I owe a debt of gratitude that I can never repay. Oklahoma Restaurants are the best in the business and I can’t wait to get back to work." - Charles Robert Cruzen, Legends Restaurant

"Thank you sooo much for this opportunity! My family and I appreciate the help so much. I'm so grateful for it! Thank you again! You have no idea how much I appreciate this!" - Celia Shadden

"Thank you so much! This is incredibly helpful in this difficult time!" - Samantha Smith

"Thank you so much!!! This will be a huge help for my family and so much stress is lifted off my shoulders! Thank you thank you thank you!" - Kindra Johnson

"Our gratitude cannot be fully expressed. There are so many of us that still have not received any assistance and this is such a blessing! Please pass along to your many donors that their donations have helped us continue to fight to serve our community. Thank you again!" - Elizabeth Wolfe

"Y’all are an amazing blessing and I don’t think I could ever thank you enough!! God bless you for the rest of your life!! Thank you thank you thank you!!!" - Misti Bailey

"Thank you very much, I am enormously appreciative of your altruism and generosity. This money will absolutely make the difference. Thank you again for your kind help!" - Heriberto Aviles



What's Happening
The Oklahoma Restaurant Association, the Oklahoma Hotel & Lodging Association, Moore/Norman Technology Center, Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau, Visit Norman, HeartLine and United Way of Central Oklahoma will host the Central Oklahoma Hospitality Job Fair. The job fair is free to the public and will take place on Friday, June 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Moore/Norman Technology Campus, South Penn Campus located at 13301 South Pennsylvania Ave. A wide variety of hospitality jobs will be available including hotel guest services, waitstaff, culinary, banquets, housekeeping, attractions, maintenance, operations and management positions. The only registration required is for employers to secure a table at the job fair.
Odyssey de Culinaire is a fundraising and awareness dinner to benefit the Oklahoma ProStart® Program. This ever-popular event, which is open to the public, features 2 great evenings of dining with many of Tulsa and Oklahoma City's finest chefs being featured in their home cities. Each of the five courses features a chef mentoring a culinary student to treat attendees to an incredible five-course dinner. Experience an energetic evening and make an impact on culinary education in Oklahoma! Join us for one or both Odyssey de Culinaires - the Oklahoma Restaurant Association's only event open to the public!
The Culinary Cook-off is a cooking competition that takes place during the ORA Expo. Oklahoma's most talented chefs will race the clock to create dazzling dishes using a mystery basket of ingredients. Chefs will compete in various heats until the contest is narrowed down to the last two chefs. Judges will consist of a panel of industry professionals who will critique each competitor on plate presentation, creativity, product taste, and sanitation practices, among other things. For each contestant, the high and low scores will be discarded. Chefs will be competing for a trophy, medals, and cash prizes. Learn more by clicking the link! #CCO2021
Support Oklahoma’s most talented bartenders as they compete for prizes in the Oklahoma Restaurant Association Cocktail Shakedown. This exciting competition takes place during the first day of the ORA Expo. Bartenders from all over the state will put their skills and abilities to the test as they compete to move through four timed rounds of cocktail preparations including the Championship Round. As each bartender lifts a shaker and creates his or her requisite signature concoction, they race the clock to create innovative and crazy delicious cocktails that will be judged on taste and balance, originality, drink presentation, and stage presentation. Each round reduces the number of talented competitors until the four finalists compete for the grand prize! Applications will be available soon.
3800 N. Portland Ave., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73112
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